Thursday, January 23, 2020

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Tells Greta Thunberg to Go Study Economics

Greta Thunberg
This is just awesome,

When Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was asked at a press conference, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to comment on the debate over the economics of climate change spurred by the Greta Thunberg.

Bloomberg reports he quipped: “Is she the chief economist?” He then said: “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can go back and explain that to us.”

This really gets to the heart of the matter. If one buys into the claim that the climate is going to change in some dramatic fashion, the fact remains it will impact different parts of the planet differently and the measures required to deal with the changes will be different in different locations.

It will be the economics of the local situation as to how to adjust to the changes. Greta with her macro warnings and demands doesn't appear to be aware of this.


Twitter is Watching the Senate Trial So We Don't Have To

The current Senate trial to determine if President Trump should be removed from office is nothing but a battle for power between Democrats and Trump with Republicans standing in line for the most part with Trump.

I have no interest in following it in detail as both sides will distort facts and Constitutional interpretations to advance their position. It is a waste of time to think anything serious is going on.

Trump tried to shakedown Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. This may have benefitted him personally but it was not in conflict with the interests of the U.S. to find out if U.S. officials were paid for favors. Politicians make similar actions to Trump's, that benefit them personally, everyday on all sorts of issues.

The only value the trial can serve is to provide humor and absurdity for entertainment purposes. And thankfully, we have Twitter to highlight these moments for us.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

BREAKING: Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton for Defamation

Tulsi Gabbard has filed a defamation suit against Hillary Clinton for calling her a “Russian asset,” according to newly filed court papers, reports The New York Post.

“Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain,” the federal lawsuit reads. “In October 2019 — whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated — Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent.”

I love a political catfight and this one is especially awesome given Tulsi is pretty good on the foreign wars issue.


Is Meghan Markle Setting Up Long-Term to Run for President of the United States?

That's what the top British PR and branding expert, Mark Borkowski, thinks may be in the cards.

“With the kind of work that Meghan and Harry want to do, they have to be free from palace protocol and politics,”  he told the New York Post. “You can’t speak out properly with the Palace breathing down your neck.”

He continued, “I could see them throwing almighty parties every quarter, like Elton John does to raise money for his AIDS foundation, with the great and the good.”

And then The Post dropped the bomb:
The PR honcho said he could even seen Meghan running for president in 10 years.
“She has that sort of ambition,” he said.

How the Anti-IP Crowd is Using Central Planning Arguments

John Howard has responded in the comments to my post, A Distortion of My View on IP and Confusion About IP, where I take to task his original broadside against my IP position.

Below are relevant parts of his comment with my responses in blue:
RW makes an issue of the difference between "being first" and being a "creator". I understand his point, but it is inconsequential to me. I am happy to use the term "creator" instead of "first" and still hold to my position.
This is not a case of using a different term. It is a major difference in position. Indeed, the Rothbard snippet I posted is about the significant difference. Howard has thrown his original position under the bus.
RW asks, "If I create something, it is mine."

The problem with this is that "something" can refer to the object created or to the arrangement of property that resulted in that object. The anti-IP argument is that objects may be property, but not arrangements. If I arrange my property in immitation of RW's arrangement of his property, I have not stolen anything from him. To imitate is not to steal and that is the root of the disagreement.
A person can certainly define property anyway one chooses but it should be understood what Howard is claiming.  If  a person writes a novel, Howard's position is it is just "an arrangement of words."  

Notice how he has to sap all the originality and creativity out of the "arrangement of words" to make his point. Does he not think it is a  mind that arranged the words, that there was thought that went into creating the arrangement of words, that there was research that went into outlining the arrangement of words, is not reflected in the arrangement? It is a con job to suggest a great novel is just "an arrangement of words." that there is no distinction between Shakespeare arranging words and Howard.
Smearing anti-IP debaters as socialists is not valid. They are not arguing against property rights. They are arguing against arrangements of property being designated as property. They are arguing in favor of property when they say that they have a right to imitate with their own property what RW has done with his property and that RW does not have a right to tell them what they can make with their own property. The debate is not about the value of property rights; it is about a detail in the definition of property.
Again, we have more of the arranging of words as somehow not of importance. In Howard's world, if someone creates an arrangement of words that provides magnificent insight and discovery, Howard's position is that anyone else is free to copy such  because it is just "an arrangement of words." Notice the attempt to downplay the actual creation, which is new insights, discovery, etc., to "an arrangement of words." Does Howard seriously think that Amazon or a bookstore could survive by just selling compilations of words without identifying the thought and insight behind the arrangement of the words? Step right up, we have one book that is 300 words and another that is 450 random words. We buy books with "words arranged" by authors because we appreciate the creativity of the arrangement and the information and message conveyed. It is the individual authors who create their arrangements for their very own independent reasons. But Howard says "no." In Howard's world, the individual created arrangement of words and how the arrangement is used does not belong to the creator but to, apparently, Howard, who says it may be copied by anyone for any reason without compensation to the creator. 
RW repeats the original justification of IP law, the utilitarian argument that it motivates creativity and that without it, some creativity would not occur. This is no doubt true, but it is just as true that under IP law, creativity is prevented, both the direct imitation and the imitation plus modifications which the original creator did not think of.
Bang, this is the socialist argument. The minute you take property away from the original owner, the socialist claim is made that the new arrangement of property would result in different creativity. Take money away from the rich and give everyone an equal amount of money and new creation would occur. This is an attempt to play down the importance of incentive. Why does Howard want to prevent incentive to the owner/creator, to obliterate the gain to the creator? Where is the end of this taking away property, anti-incentive rabbit hole? Wouldn't there always be the possibility for new creativity if the original incentive is ignored? Just suffocate incentives, that's socialist and Howard admits it is part of the anti-IP view.
None of this is in the realm of fact, however; it is in the realm of prediction and pretending to be able to predict the bottom line of "social benefit" is pretending too much. More to the point, social benefit does not and must not trump individual property rights. Further, no one can have a right to aggress in the name of the greater good in part because no one can claim a monopoly on calculating or predicting the greater good.
Here Howard takes another shot at distorting my position. My position has nothing to do with what he writes above. Nowhere do I argue for  "social benefit." 

My entire argument is within my private property position. And it is not, as Howard claims, a utilitarian position. My position is different and has major implications. Indeed, Dr. Walter Block in commenting on my book, Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person, stated: "The book also contains the best short introduction to why we need society and the best short critique of utilitarianism."

When I write: "it lowers the standard of living not only for me but in general," I am not making the utilitarian argument. I am stating this, as I outline in my book, from a methodological individualist perspective. It is not from a utilitarian position.
There are free market (non coercive) ways to reward innovation and if enough people care to reward innovators, they will discover and invent ways to do so. The Nobel Prize is an example. Another way which is used is to set up a reward for the solution to a particular problem that many people want solved and let innovators race to solve that problem so as to claim that reward.
This is, even more, central planning claptrap. Howard recognizes the problem with killing incentive so he wants to create a fake incentive world. The way communists wanted to create a fake pricing system after Mises raised the problem of calculation in a socialist economy.

Socialists say: We won't have a free market, we will have a fake free market so we learn market prices. Howard says: We won't have free market incentives, we will only have fake free market incentives.

Public rewards as opposed to market rewards? What if someone wants to work on a research project that no one has created a reward for? Ayn Rand's "The Fountain Head" was rejected by dozens of publishers, does Howard seriously think she would have gotten an award for her novel before the free market showed the interest in it?
What is not necessary or justified is government coercion that violates property rights in the false name of protecting property rights. Creating coercive monopolies is not a way to advance prosperity. Stopping individuals from immitating good ideas makes no sense except to those who want to limit their competition by limiting the spread of good ideas.
After taking his shot at a fake incentive scheme, Howard appears to abandon it and march back into the claim that a creation by an individual is not property. And he tries to slip in the government coercion angle to further distort and confuse. But in my private property book, I explain how private property, including intellectual property can be protected without the need for government. 
RW asks, "How is it not damaging if others, without my permission, print [my] book so that I end up selling only 3,000 copies...". The answer is that you cannot claim damage for not getting something you wanted. You can only claim damage if you lose something you own. You cannot own customers or sales or sales potential.
And once again, Howard ignores the fact that an individual creates an intellectual property and can make any demands he chooses as to how he desires that IP be disseminated. Howard says "No," that  every intellectual property must be distributed on his terms, which, of course, is almost always a creation he had nothing to do with.

What a monstrous arrangement of words! It is probably good for Howard's mental health that he doesn't think he owns the arrangement.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Glenn Greenwald Charged With Cybercrimes

Glenn Greenwald
Federal prosecutors in Brazil have charged the American journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes for his role in the spreading of cellphone messages that have embarrassed prosecutors and tarnished the image of an anti-corruption task force, reports The New York Times.

In a 95-page criminal complaint made public today, prosecutors in the capital, Brasília, accused Greenwald of being part of a “criminal organization” that hacked into the cellphones of several prosecutors and other public officials last year.


Murray Rothbard on What the Neoconservative Movement is Really All About


Monday, January 20, 2020

Pro-Gun Crowd Gathers in Virginia

Target Liberty exclusive photo

Thousands of gun rights supporters from Virginia and across the country are gathering today in Richmond, Virginia.

I'm told that the crowd is in the thousands.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a state of emergency and banned guns from the original rally area of Capitol Square, so gun-carrying supporters are gathering just outside the Square.


The Masses on Martin Luther King Jr.

Enjoy your day off.


New York Times Endorses TWO Democratic Primary Presidential Candidates

This is a bizarre one. 

 The New York Times is endorsing two presidential candidates that are seeking the Democratic nomination.

The Times writes:
 Breaking with tradition, The New York Times editorial board has endorsed two candidates for the Democratic presidential primary.
And the Times editorial board writes:
Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.
That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.
In other words, they appear to be part of the Anybody But Trump crowd who would apparently endorse the devil over Trump---and with Warren, they are coming pretty close.

In their endorsement of Warren, the board wrote, with apparently a straight face, about Warren who has claimed she was Native American and also claimed her children went to public schools when they went to private schools:
Senator Warren is a gifted storyteller.
The Times says about Klobuchar, who seems to run on nothing but support for popular fad topics:
 Ms. Klobuchar speaks about issues like climate change, the narrowing middle class, gun safety and trade with an empathy that connects to voters’ lived experiences, especially in the middle of the country. 
In other words, the Times hasn't spotted that Klobuchar has no original ideas and blows with bad breath and bad ideas. She would have supported the burning of "witches" at the stake during the Salem witch hunt days.

The Times is a shallow newspaper that appears to be far away in intellectual firepower from its days when Henry Hazlitt was a member of the editorial board.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Donald Trump Jr.'s Girlfriend Warns About Communist Revolutionaries in America

Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, has an op-ed out in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are key snippets:
Within 48 hours of being sworn in on Jan. 8, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin fired seven veteran attorneys, including several who were responsible for managing critical criminal units such as homicide, gang, and general felony.

As a former San Francisco assistant district attorney, I know this isn’t just a typical case of administrative shake-up. Rather, it is a dangerous and disruptive move that does a grave disservice to victims and the community...

On top of quickly dismantling the violent crime division of his office, Boudin seeks to end the prosecution of what he deems “quality of life crimes,” including public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, and blocking a sidewalk. Instead of handcuffing criminals, Boudin is handcuffing the prosecutorial process and Lady Justice herself.

These firings weren’t based on any incompetency within the department; they were just a transparent effort to cripple the department’s prosecutorial ability. Boudin is advancing a radical ideology that’s focused on completely redesigning the city’s — and the nation’s — criminal justice system.

This dangerous reality is also being peddled by a new brand of Bernie Sanders-endorsed Democrats across the country. And, worse yet, the ideology is seemingly inspired by American communist revolutionaries who gained notoriety during the late 1960s and early 1970s.